Sony's LocationFree TV to go high-def

Sony will release a version of its LocationFree TV system on Dec. 1 in Japan with support for high-definition.

It's been the one big thing missing from Sony's LocationFree TV video streaming system, but high-definition support will finally arrive later this year, Sony said Wednesday.

A new version of LocationFree TV, which can stream TV and video images around the house via wireless, will be released in Japan on Dec. 1. But while the new "LocationFree TV Home HD" brings the long-awaited high-def support, there are still some things it can't do.

Until now LocationFree TV has been stuck in standard definition. That's because high-def digital TV transmissions require too much bandwidth to stream reliably -- about 20M bps (bits per second) -- and compression technology to make the signal smaller hasn't been able to work in real time.

This changes with the new LocationFree TV boxes, which are capable of recompressing a high-def signal in real time to an MPEG4 AVC stream that requires about 10M bps.

That means it can be streamed across 802.11a/b/g networks, although 11b streaming will require a strong signal for success.

As before the base station is connected to video signal sources, such as a high-def movie player or satellite tuner, and companion tuner boxes are connected to TVs around the home. Once linked together it's possible to watch video from the base station on TVs around the home.

While the receiver can be hooked-up to a television via an HDMI cable or analog high-definition component cable the base station only accepts analog high-definition signals, outputs for which are still commonly found on high-definition products in Japan. The reason for its lack of a HDMI input is due to copyright concerns, said Sony.

Also, unlike LocationFree TV boxes until now the new system cannot stream video across the Internet or a home network to terminals or PC clients. It will work on wireless only. This is the result of market research that discovered most users utilize LocationFree TV around their home and not across the Internet, said Masayo Endo, a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Sony.

The company has no plans to stop selling the existing standard definition version with Internet streaming support.

The LF-W1HD will go on sale in Japan on Dec. 1 and will cost around YEN 50,000 (US$431). Sony has yet to decide on international launch plans.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?